Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sunday Stash - Tokyo Part One

It has been two weeks since I returned from my trip of a lifetime to Tokyo.  I had many a plan to blog about my trip earlier than this, however, it took me a week to actually recover from my holiday!!  It was literally exhausting - but incredibly exhilarating!  The one question everyone asks me when I tell them I went by myself on a holiday to Tokyo is "Why?"  Well, I am lucky enough to have a handful of amazing friends I have known since grade one.  And one of those friends has lived in Tokyo for around 17 years.  You will know her as my Tokyo BFF.  Last year, my husband wanted to buy a new TV.  I panned this idea and suggested that when we got our tax returns in 2014, he could get a new TV and I would go to Tokyo..... All in jest..... Fast forward to earlier this year, and we both changed employment and got generous payouts.  He bought his TV.....and much to my surprise, I went ahead and booked tickets to Tokyo!  It was one of those pipe dreams that I never thought would be a reality.

Soooooo, this post is a little entree to my fabric shopping during my nine days in one of the most amazing cities I have ever visited.  I arrived very early Friday morning and literally hit the ground running!  From the time I was greeted at the Tokyo bus station, I did. not. stop.  I spent the first few nights sitting on the lounge nodding off, doing that hilarious head roll whilst trying to stay awake!  It was a long weekend in the city, so I was fortunate to be able to see a bit of everything!  Friday we spent the day wondering around the Tokyo Dome area - where I woke up when I stepped on to this monster....

I'm about to get on this......

We then did what I'm sure was completely normal, and headed to the HUGE day spa at L'aqua.  Cue the hilarity of me finding out I would be spending the next couple of hours naked and surrounded by complete strangers - all naked too.  And then being told I had to leave because I had body art....too funny!  It was certainly a great introduction to Japan.....

Saturday morning was my God-daughter's sports day at their kindy, followed by an afternoon and evening walking all around Tokyo - taking in Ginza (OHEMGEE) and the Imperial Palace.....

Beautiful Nijyubashi bridge outside the Imperial Palace.

Seeing parts of a city that are hundreds and thousands of years old is mind blowing.

Sunday we travelled a couple of hours out of the city to Hakone.  A pirate ship took us to a port where we hopped on cable cars that travelled WAYYYYY up the mountains to some amazing geo-thermal sites.

Steaming volcanic mountains. There were plenty of big rumbles!

The sulphur steam spewing from the ground smelt awful, and when we went for a big walk up one of the hills to see everyone eating the black eggs the area is famous for, I spent some considerable time gagging!  No black eggs for me, but I was most interested in the decent rumbling under foot.....

Monday.  Now known as the day I first spotted fabric in Japan.  We headed to a couple of local shopping centres.  At AENO, we wandered around getting bits and pieces for my friend's children.  She then casually mentions there's a fabric store up the other end, called "Pandora House".  I hot-footed it over there and was greeted by this.....

Hello pretties! The fabric buying has begun.  #midgetakestokyo

Little pre-cuts of Yuwa and other Japanese prints.

And a little bit of this! Soooooo cheap! #midgetakestokyo

And a rack of Enchino.  So freaking good!  I also found some beautiful cotton/linen blends solids.  Lovely start......

We then drove over to Lalaport in Toyosu.  Found the most amazing stationary store EVER and then was led to a fabric store that I cannot for the life of me remember the name of!

Uhohhhhhhhhh

It was FULL of amazing fabrics - all the popular Japanese designers as well as a fabulous range of Liberty.  I actually made my first ever Liberty purchase here.  And for around $30 a metre, it was completely justifiable.

So Monday was a great day :)  Skip forward to Wednesday.......

I have tomorrow all mapped out. I just have to get from the bottom circle to the top circle. By myself. Easy. #nippori #fabrictown see you there! @blossomheartquilts

And I had my trip planned out.  Simple really?  Just had to navigate the Tokyo subway system all by myself.  Ahemmm.......

And I'm off to fabric town!! #haveluggage

I set off in the morning, tugalong case on hand.  A 15 minute stroll to Tokyo Central Station, a minor panic attack through a million travellers, and I eventually got myself to Nippori.....

In what can only be classed as a minor miracle..... I made it. Thank god for the few people who spoke limited English and helped me change trains when ours ceased moving!! #hallefreakinglujah

Nippori Textile Town (a whole freakin town!!) is what I would call Heaven.  It's only around 15 minutes from Tokyo central and is a rather quiet little hub FULL of different fabric and notions stores.  Before my guide arrived, I sat in a lovely little coffee shop and read the Woman's Weekly I had brought her with a hot chocolate to boot!

Yay!! @blossomheartquilts

Then my guide arrived!  The delightful Alyce from Blossom Heart Quilts has been an online friend of mine for quite some time now, so it was very exciting to finally meet in the flesh!  This is a shocker of a photo, but I love it, because it was before the rush of fabric hit me in the face!

We headed down the road to a humble little store called Tomato.  And by humble, I mean frigging HUGE!  Over five floors of different fabric, the ground floor was more than accommodating.  Straight in the door and we find multiple racks of old school Melody Miller.

IMAG0275 IMAG0274 

And on the quilting cotton floor - jackpot!  Rack upon rack of Japanese designer fabrics as well as walls FULL of American quilting cottons.  I very happily took advantage of the hour we spent on that one floor alone...... It was like quilt candy every direction you looked!  It was with great self control that I managed to not buy one of everything.....

IMAG0280

And thankfully the thoughtful staff had reminders around the store in regards to their cutting practices......  I'm still trying to figure out whether I am separately competent.......

I don't think I need to tell you I had a brilliant day?  We cleared Tomato, had a reallllly yummy lunch and talked and talked, then headed to a couple of amazing smaller stores.  And with my tugalong jam packed and overflowing with fabric, got on the train and headed for home.

To be continued........

ps.  I'd normally be linking up with Glamour-puss Molli, but the glitter is on the shelf at present.  Go send Molli some love!

10 comments:

  1. Looks amazing. Would love to go fabric shopping in Tokyo one day. How wonderful you could meet Alyce too.

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  2. I went to a spa in Tokyo (can't remember the name for the life of me) and had the same "spending the day naked" shock. This was before I was into quilting, so I missed textile town. I've told my sister we need to go back now :) Fun going along with you :) thanks for the travel-log!

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  3. i'm so jealous of your adventure I'm practically green. It looks like you had a marvellous time and I'm so excited to see all the things you'll be making with that fabulous fabric. <3

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  4. I used to love in Tokyo, but wasn't quilting then...I wish I had known then that I would one day be a quilter!! I am going to Tokyo in January 2016 so will definitely be bookmarking your posts for future reference. Isn't the subway amazing!! Cant wait til the next instalment

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  5. Looks like a fun trip Ms Midge! It's so important for us to take time out and spend time as ourselves, rather than mum :)

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  6. Wheelie case?! Good call.
    I noticed the 'no tatts' signs in the baths on our recent trip. It wasn't an issue when I lived there as at that point in ancient history no one had tattoos. My husband and I suspect tattoos are still linked to the gangster culture in Japanese minds.

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